Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, February 2016

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 29th February 2016 at 7.30 p.m.
Present:                                  Cllr. P.Allinson (Vice Chairman in the Chair)

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske

                                               Councillors:  A. Carroll, J. Grey,  S. Hearn, A. Howard, 

                                               E. Jeffery, P. Oakeshott, L. Pearton (also Borough) and

                                               S. Sparks.                                                                                           

In attendance:                          9 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

Apologies for absence:             Cllrs. Sweetland, Papadopulos and Mendzil.

                                               Joanne Raff and PCSO Sharon Balman     


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the new springer animal had been smashed up and had had to be removed.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 18th January 2016, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-

a.  P. 1192  Parish Property. A quotation had now been received for the monitoring of the play equipment by CCTV for £825. Members unanimously agreed to accept this quotation. The Insurers would be informed once the installation was complete.

b.  P. 1196.  Correspondence. Cllr. Jeffery reported on the recent Meeting of Parish Chairmen where the problem of parking on rural verges had been placed on the agenda. Although helpful suggestions had been made a solution had not been found.

c.  P 1196.  Correspondence. A letter of support regarding the re-opening of the Shorne Mead Crossing had been sent.

d. P. 1193  Royal Celebration 2016. Cllr. Allinson reported that the banners advertising the event would go up in the village once those for the LTC consultation had been taken down. The preparation of the programme was progressing well with £350 sponsorship already secured.

e.  Web site report. Recent additions to the website had included LTC information, events, photos, news and draft documents. The page for the LTC was now so large it had been redesigned and now included downloadable documents.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Keith Bradley, of Carton Road, outlined the new hire charges for the Memorial Hall from 1/4/16. Local groups would continue to get 25% discount and heating costs were now included in these charges. Prices had not been increased for several years and recent improvements and repairs had been costly.

A parking and access dispute to the Hermitage Road area was raised by a Parishioner but the Chairman reminded those present that this was a civil matter and as such was not able to be dealt with by the Parish Council.


To pass the following resolution.

Higham Parish Council rejects the proposal promoted by Highways England to build a new crossing of the Thames between Chalk and Higham, Gravesham, and the two proposals for link roads through the Parish of Shorne .


This Council affirms its opposition to the positioning of a new Lower Thames Crossing to be east of Gravesend, which would have significant detrimental impacts including threatening areas of outstanding natural beauty and several internationally significant nature Conservation Areas, thus threatening the bio-diversity that their very status seeks to protect. Moreover, the community in Higham and the whole of Gravesham would suffer air quality issues as congestion on local roads will be exacerbated as drivers seek to avoid problems elsewhere on the highway network.  The Parish of Higham would experience significant increases in traffic through the village. This Council calls upon Highways England and the Government to reject Option C and investigate alternatives that will be less damaging and create fewer problems for communities.’


It was proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Howard and agreed unanimously by all those present at the Meeting that this resolution be adopted.


The Lower Thames Crossing.

Cllr. Allinson reported that he had visited the car park at Gads Hill School to talk to the parents about the No to Option C Campaign and had given away several posters. It was understood that the Headmaster was going to write to all the parents about the consultation. Cllr. Craske confirmed that the Borough Council had placed the sum of £150,000 in a fighting fund for their No to Option C campaign. He confirmed that Mr Potts would be in attendance at the Public Meeting on 12/3. It was  agreed  that those taking part in the Meeting would sit at a table on the stage and that the Meeting would take the form of a question and answer session to be chaired by Cllr. Craske.  Cllr. Sparks agreed to help prepare an agenda for the Meeting with Cllr, Allinson and ask that all questions to be asked be submitted to her in advance so that there would not be duplication on the night. Parishioners would be asked to walk to the Meeting to save traffic congestion. The delivery of the protest packs was now well underway. The yellow petition forms (KCC) would need to be collected in early to be presented at Cabinet.  


To receive an update on the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease.

The Clerk reported that as the Youth Club Committee had still not met there was no progress with the creation of the sub lease.


Annual Parish Newsletter and Annual Parish Assembly 2016.

The Clerk reported that the preparation for the 2016 Newsletter was behind schedule due to the extra work involved with the Lower Thames Crossing Consultation. The newsletters would now be distributed in early April but not by the Scouts. Kate of Oven Bake had agreed to hold her prices from 2015 but this year there would only be a savoury and sweet selection on the buffet table due to the large numbers of sandwiches left in previous years. The speaker this year would be Rob Poole whose talk would be entitled “Railway Curiosities – some of the more unusual aspects of railways”. In addition Cllr. Sparks would talk about the Parish Plan and Jo Raff would talk about the Pavilion Project.


Parish Plan update

Cllr. Sparks reported that the Parish Plan Committee (Cllrs Sparks, Hearn, Pearton and Allinson) would shortly be Meeting. She had prepared an article for the Annual Newsletter and would be speaking at the forthcoming Annual Parish Assembly.


Councillors’ Matters.


As Cllr. Sweetland did not attend the Meeting no report was given.

Cllr. Sparks reported on the KCC consultation for the Mobile Library Service which she had completed on behalf of the Parish Council. The usage of the one stop at the Chequers was now very low and with a static library within the village and the Home Delivery Service it could no longer be justified. By agreeing to proposals such as these in the document a total of £150,000 could be saved which would help secure the future of the libraries.  



Cllr. Craske reported  that the Borough Council would be offering free microchipping for dogs before new laws requiring all animals be microchipped came into force on 1/4/16.  



Cllr. Jeffery reported that the recent Comedy Hypnotist Night at the Village Club for the Pavilion Project (including the raffle) had raised in excess of £1000. A Race Night for the appeal would be held on 23/4/16. The Pavilion Project had been overwhelmingly chosen by HiARA as its supported charity from April 2016 to March 2017  

Cllr. Oakeshott highlighted the amount of rubbish on the verges of the Wainscott By Pass on the London bound carriageway.

Cllr. Pearton queried if the bus stop to the lay by in Forge Lane opposite the entrance to Brice Road was still in use.

Cllr. Grey reported continuing problems with vehicles parking on the verges outside Dickens Court and it was agreed that both Cllrs Grey and Howard would collect registration numbers of vehicles involved to forward to PCSO Balman.

Cllr. Hearn reported a recent fight which had taken place to the lit underpass to Crutches Lane and to which the Police had been called.

Cllr. Howard reported that although some clearance to the verge at Jubilee Gardens had taken place the work had still not been completed.






a.    Planning.

      Plans were available for the following planning application which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20160074   Oastlands,  Hermitage Road

Erection of single storey extension to existing garage with alterations to the roof over existing lean-to.


g.    GROWC

       Cllr. Howard would attend the forthcoming meeting to be held on 10/3.


h.    Governors of Higham Primary School.

       Cllr. Pearton reported that the School was now employing its own cooks to prepare school dinners.


i.     Merston Court

       Cllr. Carroll reported that the Luncheon Club would continue to meet fortnightly after Easter due to the shortage of helpers.


l.    Rural Housing

      Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the recent Housing Needs Survey had revealed the need for a further 27 properties within the village. Some elderly residents would like to downsize into one bedroom units.


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT)

        Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held in Higham Library on 8/3.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that 8 counts of flytipping had been collected by the Borough Council and 2 litter picks had been requested.   The Community Surgery held on 28/1 had been attended by 2 Parishioners and that on 25/2 by one. Cllr Sue Sparks had attended both meetings. A total of 5 speedwatch sessions had been held. A skip to the slip road by the A226 had been reported  as well as a damaged traffic bollard to Forge Lane.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Carroll, seconded by Cllr. Grey and agreed by all Members.


EDF Energy (electricity for Pavilion)                                                                                61.83

Elizabeth Hart (leaflet distribution)                                                                                  120.00                                                              

Higham Memorial Hall Association (hall hire for 2 meetings)                                            100.00       

SSE (electricity for toilets)                                                                                               19.56

Clerks salary (January net)                                                                                           1003.65

HMRC (PAYE/NI  January)                                                                                         178.04

KCC (LGPS January)                                                                                                    317.25

Clerk (coloured paper for LTC campaign)                                                                       102.74

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (LTC letter and poster)                                             180.00

Victory Design Ltd. (banners for LTC and fireworks)                                                      955.56

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (protest packs and car stickers)                                  773.00

Victory Design Ltd. (LTC banners for protest rally)                                                         885.70

Nexus Data Systems Ltd. (domain name renewal)                                                             84.00 

Peter Leakey (dog bags)                                                                                                  25.70

Peter Allinson (set up costs for Option C website)                                                             20.35

Peter Allinson (broom handles etc. for protest rally)                                                           48.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (additional posters)                                                      89.00        


Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to raise the hall hire costs for the Lower Thames Crossing public meetings with the Hall Committee as she felt that this invoice should not have been raised.

Members agreed to deduct current items of expenditure from donations made by Parishioners to the Lower Thames Crossing fund and send a cheque for the remainder to the newly formed Action Group, whose aims were the same as the Parish Council, once they had opened a bank account.



The correspondence and email folder had been available for perusal by all Members from 7.00 p.m. on that evening,  but the Clerk drew Members’ attention to the following item:-

1.  Following our objection Higham was reinstated into Gravesham Rural in the final recommendations of the Electoral Review of Kent by the Local Government Boundary Commission.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meetings.

These were given as being Monday, 4th April 2016, with the 2016 Annual Parish Assembly taking place on Thursday, 14th April at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.10 p.m. 



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